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Chilli sin carne

My mum doesn't even like beans, but she said this was the best she ever had. Cumin is an essential spice for Mexican cooking I find.
Course: Vegetarian main course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Beans, Chilli sin carne, Mexican food, Vegetarian
Servings: 10


  • Large saucepan


  • 500 g black beans, preferably dried rather than tinned and soaked overnight at least
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 brown onions, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tbsp mexican oregano
  • 50 g tomato puree
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 800 g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle dried, remove seeds and soak for 15 minutes in hot water, then chop finely
  • 1 ancho or pasilla dried, as above
  • 50g jaggery or brown sugar
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 2 oranges, juice of
  • 3 tbsp sea salt. Add after an hour of cooking, then keep tasting and adding.


  • Soak the beans. The fresher the beans the less you have to soak but if they are old, soak at least for 24 hours. You can use tins but I've tried both and dried tastes so much better.
  • Drain the beans. Take a large cooking pot.
  • Add the oil, then onions, cumin, oregano, tomato puree, garlic, one by one, frying and stirring in between.
  • Add tinned tomatoes, the soaked chillies, the sugar, the orange juice, and keep tasting and seasoning.
  • Cook for 3 hours at least or until beans are soft. Keep checking every half hour or so and add water if it looks like getting dry.